Sunday, February 23, 2014

Spiced Cashew Milk

Making my own nut milk has been on my “list” for a long time. The process is really easy, and I don’t know what took me so long, especially since most store-bought nut milks have some undesirable ingredients…

For my first try, I decided to make cashew milk as I had read that you may not need to strain it if you use a high powered blender, which was true for me. But the milk will be a bit thicker than what you are used to; if you want thinner milk, strain it. I believe hemp milk is another milk that doesn’t need to be strained, but I was out of hemp seeds.

I flavored the milk with a little cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, vanilla extract, and a little honey. The result was delicious, and I’ll definitely make more nut milks soon.

Spiced Cashew Milk

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a dash of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  1. Put the soaked and drained cashews, 2 cups water, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and honey into a blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the rest of the water, and process for another 30 seconds. If you are using a high powered blender and are happy with the consistency (smooth but a little thick), pour the milk in a storage container at this point. If you want thinner milk, strain it through a small mesh strainer, cheesecloth, or a mesh nut bag.
The milk is slightly sweet and perfect to use in other dishes. You could definitely increase the honey and spices, especially if you want to drink it by itself and enjoy a bit more sweetness and spiciness. Store the milk in the fridge and shake it well before drinking as it will separate. We enjoy it most when it’s really cold.

On Saturday, we went on another beautiful 4-mile hike.

Hiking Instagram

We have been doing quite a bit of walking and hiking lately. Last Monday we all had the day off and went on a 6.5-mile hike in the morning, and then the kid and I went on a 2-hour afternoon walk. He ended up walking 31,000 steps, and I made it to 25,000 steps. The kid and I had actually been waiting for the perfect day to walk over 30,000/25,000 steps respectively to get our next Fitbit badge. It had to be a holiday with no other plans so that we would have enough time to walk that many steps. I love that he is at an age where he can go hiking and walking with us and that he enjoys it (at least for now; I sure know that things can change…).

Questions: Have you ever made your own nut milk? If so, what’s your favorite? Do you have any tips to share? What was the highlight of your weekend?

Be well,

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Green Soup and Star Wars

We start most days with plenty of greens in the form of a green smoothie. My second favorite way to get lots of greens is a green soup since I can make a big pot on the weekend and enjoy it for most of the week.

I started making vegetable-based soups every week when I did the Conscious Cleanse for the first time a little over a year ago, and this recipe would be suitable while you are cleansing. But it’s a delicious soup anytime and you can feel good about getting lots and lots of greens.

While I make similar soups most weeks, this combo worked out really well as it’s nice and balanced. And I was really just cleaning out the fridge… Winking smile

Green Soup

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 small bunch collard greens, taken off the stem and chopped
  • 1 small bunch Swiss chards, taken off the stem and chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth – more broth if you like your soup soupier
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot and add the onions when the oil is hot and cook for a few minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli, collard greens, and Swiss chard and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and simmer the soup for about 20 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and puree the soup with an immersion blender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may already know that we visited the Star Wars Exhibit on Friday afternoon. We all loved it, and it was the highlight of our weekend.

Questions: What’s your favorite way to get get your green vegetables? I love green smoothies and soups, and I never get tired of salads. What was the highlight of your weekend?
Be well,

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Closing the Kitchen After Dinner

These days, I eat a very early dinner. Most would probably consider it a late lunch. Having a smaller eating window and going for more hours without food works for me. I like giving my body a break from digesting food, and, personally, I sleep better. But we are all different, and what works for me may not work for you.

Regardless of when you eat “dinner,” I believe it’s a good idea to be conscious of “closing the kitchen” after your last meal of the day so that you don’t mindlessly consume calorie after calorie. I’ve been using this phrase for years and often remind myself that the kitchen is closed. Lauren also uses the phrase in her Little Book of Thin. In fact, it’s one of her 10 Steps to Svelte.

When I was struggling with my weight, nighttime eating was a huge problem for me. I was busy and stressed during the day and often didn’t eat much. Once I got home, the eating began. First dinner and then numerous after dinner snacks. I also loved a glass (or two) of wine to relax. And once I had some wine, eating more was even easier…

While the foods I ate were usually not unhealthy, it was too much and there was no control. Once I started eating, it was hard to stop.

Over the years, I have come up with some rules and close the kitchen after dinner (which for me right now is in the early afternoon). Here is what has helped:
  • A cup of tea – I like to have a ritual to signal that eating for the day is done. For me, that’s a cup of tea. Lately, I’m into yerba mate and chai teas. Since I drink the tea many hours before I go to sleep, a caffeinated tea works for me. If you eat closer to your bedtime, I would choose an herbal tea. And I often have another cup of herbal tea closer to bedtime.
  • When I do the Conscious Cleanse, I like to have a cup of warm lemon water after my last meal. I sometimes also have a cup of warm lemon water when I am not cleansing.
  • A piece of dark chocolate – I also like to have a small piece of dark chocolate most days (predetermined size and only one; I don’t have chocolate when I’m doing a cleanse). It’s another way I tell my body that eating is done for the day.
  • Clean up the kitchen and put everything away. It’s important to be mindful and not to nibble on the food while you put it away. But a clean kitchen is a nice way to tell yourself that there is no more eating.
  • If you have alcohol, measure out the amount of alcohol you will drink and put the bottle away. It’s too easy to pour just a “little” more. Also, depending on the glasses you are using, your “one glass of wine” may be more than you think.
  • Brush your teeth. Food doesn’t taste very good with freshly brushed teeth, and brushing your teeth is a good way to tell your brain that there is no more food. Plus, it’s good for your teeth!
Finally, here is a photo of our most recent CSA box. Since we don’t eat a lot of fruit, I recently switched to an all veggies box, and we are enjoying it a lot! If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already seen the photo.

CSA Box Feb 7me

Questions: What are your thoughts about after dinner eating/snacking? What was the favorite veggie you ate in the last week? I really enjoyed the radishes from our CSA box! What was the highlight of your weekend? It was a busy weekend, and hanging out with all my boys was definitely the highlight.

Be well,